Summer time is famous for an increase in driving, and for that Continental Tire wants to help drivers and car owners to save money, be green, and arrive to their destinations safely by providing a few easy maintenance tips. After all, tire maintenance is the first line of defense when it comes to car maintenance.
- Tire Pressure
Check tire pressure regularly — once per month and before every long trip — including the spare. Tire pressure should be checked when tires are cold (car has not been driven for at least three hours). The correct tire pressure can be found in the car owner manual, on the gas tank lid, the driver’s side door edge, or on the door post. Tire pressure must be the same on the tires of each axle, but may be different on the front and rear axle. And remember to tightly close the valve caps to protect the valve from dust and dirt and to prevent leaking. Replace missing valve caps without delay.
- Note: While new vehicles are equipped with tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS), these systems issue a low pressure warning only after tire pressure drops 25 percent below the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure. In many cases a slight drop in air pressure would not trigger a warning light and would cause a loss of fuel economy and could lead to vehicle safety issue. Even with TPMS, motorists need to check tire pressure with a tire gauge every month.
A jolt from hitting a pothole or curb can put a front end out of alignment and damage tires. Misalignment of wheels in the front or rear can cause uneven and rapid treadwear and should be corrected by a tire dealer. Have the alignment checked periodically as specified by the vehicle’ owner’s manual or if trouble such as a “pulling” sensation or vibration is experienced.
Unless a vehicle owner’s manual has a specific recommendation, the guideline for tire rotation is approximately every 5,000 — 8,000 miles. Rotating a vehicle’s tires regularly will help achieve more uniform wear. If uneven wear is experienced, ask a tire dealer to check for and correct any misalignment, imbalance or other mechanical problem involved before rotation.
Proper tread depth is essential to prevent hydroplaning and skidding. The minimum tread depth is 2/32nd of an inch (1.6 mm). Advanced and unusual wear can reduce the ability of tread to properly grip the road in adverse conditions. Visually check tires for uneven wear, looking for high and low areas or unusually smooth areas and any signs of damage. Motorists should also check sidewalls for gouges, cuts, bulges or other irregularities.